March 5, 2014
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – For just the third time in school history, the University of Notre Dame women’s swimming and diving program is taking eight swimmers to the NCAA Championships as four student-athletes will compete in individual races and four others will join them for three relays.
Qualifying automatically were freshman Katie Miller, juniors Bridget Casey and Emma Reaney and senior Christen McDonough, while freshman Catherine Mulquin, juniors Suzanne Bessire and Courtney Whyte and senior Kelly Ryan will join the foursome to make up the Irish relays in Minneapolis, Minn., March 20-22.
Reaney, the American record holder in the 200-yard breaststroke, qualified in the 200 IM, 100 breast and 200 breast. Casey, the school record holder in the 200 fly, qualified in the event and was also invited in the 400 IM. Miller, an all-ACC honoree in the 400 IM, qualified in the event and was also invited in the 200 IM and 200 back. Lastly McDonough, a fifth-place finisher in the 100 breast at the ACC Championships, qualified in the event and was also invited in the 200 breast.
“I told our group today that everything is coming up Irish right now,” said head coach Brian Barnes. “It’s fun because it hasn’t always been like this. We’ve been on the other side where a lot of girls missed out on qualifying. We’ve had a good year and we are excited about our NCAA team.”
In the relays, Reaney will team with Mulquin, Ryan and Whyte in the 200 and 400 medley and with Bessire, Miller and Ryan in the 800 free.
“We have five individuals that have never been to this meet and it’s a big deal,” said Barnes. “I’m thrilled for them. It’s an opportunity. You achieve your goals and then you have the next day. Now what are we going to do? Because the name of the game is to show up and do what we need to do at this meet. We need to create our opportunities and make things happen as opposed to hoping for things to happen. If you hope for things to happen you are going to be watching.”
For Reaney and Ryan, 2014 will mark their third consecutive appearance at the NCAA Championships. In 2012, Ryan was a first team All-American in the 200 back and Reaney earned three honorable mention All-America scrolls in the 200 IM and both breaststroke specialties. Last year, Reaney went home with All-America trophies in both breaststroke events and honorable mention All-America certificates in the 200 IM and the 400 medley relay, while Ryan earned a pair of honorable mention All-America scrolls in the 200 back and 400 medley relay.
Casey will be enjoying her second NCAA appearance as she swam in the 200 fly last year, while the other five will be making their first appearances on collegiate swimming’s biggest stage.
Last year the Irish had a breakout meet, finishing a program-best 16th with 55 points.
Only two other times in school history have the Irish taken eight swimmers to NCAAs – 2002 and 2007. With the Irish divers set to compete at the NCAA Zone C meet next weekend, it is a possibility that this year’s squad will break the school record for most competitors at one NCAA meet (nine in 2002). In 1999 and 2007 the Irish took eight competitors.
For more information on the Irish as they prepare for Minneapolis, stay tuned to Facebook (/NDwSwimmingDiving) and Twitter (@NDwSwimming).
2014 NCAA INDIVIDUAL QUALIFIERS
5. Emma Reaney: 1:54.92*
40. Katie Miller: 1:58.16%
31. Katie Miller: 4:10.92*
51. Bridget Casey: 4:18.07%
4. Emma Reaney: 58.46*
35. Christen McDonough: 1:00.51*
1. Emma Reaney: 2:04.34*
51. Christen McDonough: 2:13.75%
52. Katie Miller: 1:56.45%
34. Bridget Casey: 1:56.52*
* Automatic Qualifier
2014 NCAA RELAY QUALIFIERS
200 Medley Relay
400 Medley Relay
Mulquin / Reaney / Whyte / Ryan: 3:33.93
800 Free Relay
Reaney / Ryan / Miller / Suzanne Bessire: 7:11.92
–Russell Dorn, Assistant Media Relations Director